Inmate firefighters arrive at the scene of California's Water fire. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a law on Friday that will allow some inmates who volunteer as firefighters to have their records expunged, making it easier for them to become professional firefighters after being released from prison.

Why it matters: Inmate firefighters play a pivotal role in battling blazes across the state, but once released, they are required to disclose their convictions when applying for jobs, making it harder to get hired.

What he's saying: "CA’s inmate firefighter program is decades-old and has long needed reform," Newsom tweeted Friday, along with a picture of him signing the law surrounded by a scorched area.

  • "Inmates who have stood on the frontlines, battling historic fires should not be denied the right to later become a professional firefighter."

The big picture: About 3,700 incarcerated people are part of California's inmate firefighter program, with roughly 2,600 qualified to work fire lines.

  • More than 14,800 firefighters are currently fighting 28 major wildfires burning across California, according to Cal Fire.
  • At least 10 people have died in the the North Complex fire, which has destroyed or damaged about 2,000 structures, per AP.
  • The August Complex, currently raging north of Sacramento, is the biggest wildfire event in California history, consuming more than 746,607 acres.

Worth noting: Inmates convicted of serious crimes including, rape, murder, kidnapping or arson, will not be eligible for having their records expunged.

Inmate crews set backfires to heavy brush as firefighters try to keep the 2019 Easy fire from crossing the road. Photo:  Brian van der Brug/ Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Inmate firefighters walk the road leading to the Reagan Library during the 2019 Easy Fire in Simi Valley, California. Photo: Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images
Inmate firefighters take a break while battling the 2019 Kincade Fire in Healdsburg, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
A crew of inmate firefighters takes a break during firefighting operations to battle the 2019 Kincade Fire in Healdsburg, California. Photo: Philip Pacheco/AFP via Getty Images

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Sep 16, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Fighting fire with fire

A firefighter works on the scene of a wildfire in California on Sept. 15. Photo: Ringo Chiu/AFP via Getty Images

The catastrophic wildfires in parts of the West are a product of climate change, but also decades of failure to use controlled fire to reduce fuel load.

Why it matters: Warming temperatures in the years ahead will only intensify the climatic conditions that can lead to massive wildfires. That puts more pressure to scale up land management techniques that can clear overgrown forests before they ignite.

Biden: The next president should decide on Ginsburg’s replacement

Joe Biden. Photo: Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Joe Biden is calling for the winner of November's presidential election to select Ruth Bader Ginsburg's replacement on the Supreme Court.

What he's saying: "[L]et me be clear: The voters should pick the president and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider," Biden said. "This was the position the Republican Senate took in 2016 when there were almost 10 months to go before the election. That's the position the United States Senate must take today, and the election's only 46 days off.

Trump, McConnell to move fast to replace Ginsburg

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump will move within days to nominate his third Supreme Court justice in just three-plus short years — and shape the court for literally decades to come, top Republican sources tell Axios.

Driving the news: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans are ready to move to confirm Trump's nominee before Election Day, just 46 days away, setting up one of the most consequential periods of our lifetimes, the sources say.